Augustus A. White III, MD, PhD, recognized with leadership award

Augustus A. White III, MD, PhD, was honored yesterday with the 2010 William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Leadership Award for his work as an educator, mentor, and champion of diversity initiatives.

Established by friends, colleagues, and organizations through AAOS and the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF), the Tipton Award honors the qualities exemplified by the late Dr. Tipton, including leadership and a commitment to mentorship, diversity, bridge-building, and collaboration.

Augustus A. White III, MD, PhD, was honored with the 2010 William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Leadership Award.

“I am surprised, humbled and inspired to be receiving this award,” said Dr. White. “I feel particularly honored to be recognized among so many individuals I admire.”

Dr. White currently is the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Distinguished Professor of Medical Education, professor of orthopaedic surgery, at Harvard Medical School. As a former master of the Oliver Wendell Holmes Society—an organization committed to the promotion and support of the academic and professional development of Harvard’s medical students through a system of academic advising and a series of enrichment programs—he has served as a mentor to Harvard medical students.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have some world-class mentors, starting with my parents, then on to my professors and my peers,” said Dr. White. “I firmly believe that giving students the opportunity to find a mentor also gives them a greater opportunity to be successful.”

In addition to his mentoring work, Dr. White dedicates much of his life to diversity-related issues. He is a founding member and first president of the J. Robert Gladden Orthopaedic Society, a multicultural organization dedicated to advancing excellent musculoskeletal care for all patients, with particular attention to underserved groups. Dr. White also served as the inaugural chairman of the AAOS Diversity Committee.

Gary L. Friedlaender, MD, in supporting Dr. White’s nomination, wrote that “Dr. White exemplifies the selfless zeal that Dr. Tipton displayed for his patients, his profession, and society at large. Indeed, without attention to the larger social context, neither Bill nor Gus would feel satisfied they were properly using their talents to build bridges, enhance communication, celebrate diversity, minimize disparities, improve health care and teach.”

After becoming the first African-American to graduate from Stanford University School of Medicine and the first African-American orthopaedic resident at Yale Medical Center, Dr. White served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in Vietnam and received a Bronze Star Medal. He then earned his PhD in research on biomechanics of the spine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

Throughout his career, Dr. White has received numerous honors, including the AAOS Diversity Award; the American Orthopaedic Association Distinguished Clinician Educator Award; the U.S. Jaycees “Ten Outstanding Young Men” Award; the Martin Luther King Jr. Medical Achievement Award; and the Kappa Delta/Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation Research Award.

Dr. White has also authored or coauthored more than 225 scientific and clinical publications, including chapters, books, and articles.

Pat Tipton joined AAOS President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, in presenting the award. Dr. Zuckerman noted that “Gus is known for his rare ability to render the best possible technical care to his patients, while delivering it in the gentlest and most compassionate manner possible.”

Prior recipients of the William W. Tipton Jr., MD, Leadership Award are Blair C. Filler, MD (2009), Michael F. Schafer, MD (2008), Stuart A. Hirsch, MD (2007), and Richard J. Haynes, MD (2006).